Nationwide ‘Quit Line’ to boost DOH anti-smoking drive

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) aims to further curb smoking prevalance in the country through the use of phone and mobile-centered support services.

“Why attain something that is attainable,(when) we (can) aim (for) higher,’ said DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Ubial during the launching of the national ‘Quit Line’ at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) in Quezon City.

This, according to the Health Chief, aims to help Filipinos who want to succeed in quitting the habit through providing real-time counseling and support.

Smokers who want to avail of these services may call the hotline 165364.

For the mobile-based cessation, the quitter may simply text ‘STOPSMOKE’ to (29290)165364 – and text messaging will begin support and guidance to quit smoking, instead of actual operators and voice.

Services will be available and accessible via SMART/Sun Cellular and Globe.

The DOH has allotted funds worth PHP27 million for the program.

Ubial further noted that the agency’s anti-smoking programs have reduced tobacco use from previous of around 29.7 percent in 2009, to 23.8 percent by 2015.

“So a reduction of over six percentage points, that means about one million Flipino adults have stopped smoking in this period,” Ubial said.

With this, Ubial has ordered all DOH personnel to work harder to be able to stop the spread of the vice in the Philippines, noting that they want to decrease smoking prevalence in the country by “no less than 15 percent by 2022”.

The launching was attended by several anti-smoking advocates and partners from the World Health Organization (WHO), Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), New Vois Association (NVAP), Health Justice Philippines and many others.